You don’t have to be born in New York to be a New Yorker.
You can learn the subway system, cry on the subway and not give a shit, steal a cab from someone who was waiting for it, live in a non-air conditioned six-story walkup– there are many ways to become a New Yorker (aside from the obvious: living here).
Want proof you’ve become one? Visit your parents at their home. Never have you ever felt more like a New Yorker.
You don’t realize how much you’ve changed until you return to a place where you used to be you, to discover that everything is not the same.
You can go home again. You just might be surprised by what you find there. Like these things New Yorkers forget about...
1. How big real refrigerators are
Not even a corgi could fit in a New York refrigerator. You get used to your apartment fridge, and it works just fine for the amount of groceries you can reasonably carry home from the local Fairway without pulling an arm muscle.
But at your parents’ home, they need a fridge that can fit an entire trunk-full of groceries. They might even have the double-door kind, with a built-in water filter and ice maker. Also, have you shrunk, or have real refrigerators always been this tall?
2. What carpet feels like under bare feet
Unless you live in a luxury building (#jealous), you probably have the standard scuffed up wood apartment flooring. And considering you and all your guests wear your shoes throughout the place, that’s probably a good thing. Who needs a vacuum cleaner when a Swiffer gets the job done?
But man, you forget how luxurious it feels to dig your bare toes into plush carpeting. You’d pick up vacuuming for this cushiony goodness! It certainly didn’t seem to absorb the sound of walking this well when you were trying to sneak out as a teenager, though.
3. How many embarrassing photos of you exist
The only childhood photos people in New York have seen of you are highly filtered, specifically selected #tbts on your Instagram. The “you were so cute!” kind, not the “what were you thinking?!” kind.
Unfortunately, parents can rarely tell the difference between those two types of photos—to them, you have always been adorable. And going home will remind you just how long you had braces and an unfortunate haircut, because there are photos everywhere.
4. How loud bugs can be
You’re used to taxis honking, couples across the hallway fighting, roommates watching Netflix too loudly, sirens blaring. You’re not used to bugs.
Bugs are LOUD, man. Do crickets these days use microphones? Is there a master cricket DJ who sets up a bluetooth speaker outside every abandoned childhood bedroom? Who knew nature could be louder than the city that never sleeps?
5. How dark it gets at night
Non-New Yorkers lament the lack of visible stars, but you rarely notice. There are so many other things to look at!
Not only are stars actually beautiful, you can see them at your parents’ home because it gets dark out. Not street lights / headlights / skyhigh office buildings / 24/7 bodega signs dark. Real dark. The kind that has a physical feel to it.
6. Where all the dishes go in the cupboards
Setting the table used to be second nature to you, even if you groaned when your mom made you fold the napkins and your dad made you organize the silverware the correct way.
But now, you can’t remember where your mom’s favorite serving bowl is, or where your dad put his grilling tools, even if your parents haven’t moved four times since you last lived at home (author’s note: mine have).
7. How convenient in-home laundry is
Laundry in this city is typically a lose/lose situation. You pay extra for laundry service, or you have to haul your dirty clothes blocks on blocks to the nearest laundromat to DIY. (If you have in-unit laundry, never move.)
Having a washing machine and a dryer at your disposal is the underestimated epitome of convenience. Spill something on yourself? Throw it in the wash. Want to wear that wrinkly shirt tonight? Run it through the dryer. And if you’re really lucky, your parents will actually encourage you to bring home dirty clothes...and then wash them for you.
8. How much decor you need for an entire home
You hung out your drink-n-paint canvas, some “candid” Polaroids, a cute mirror, maybe even a clock—it might even display the correct time!
But have you ever realized how much art is in your parents’ house? Where did this all come from? How much have they spent on framing? How does each room seem to have its own central theme tying it all together?
9. Privacy is real?!?!?
Getting your own space doesn’t mean you have to be in the shower or in your bed. There are multiple rooms for everyone to choose from. And there’s space; when your parents are in their bedroom they don’t hear you farting in yours.
There’s privacy outdoors, too. Your living room window doesn’t look directly into the bathroom window of the apartment across the airshaft. You have a personal yard. It might even have a fence!
10. What it’s like to have multiple bathrooms to use
No more crossing your legs and holding it while your roommate takes an interminably long shower. No more coordinating schedules with your roommate (and their significant other) to plan down to the minute when each of you gets bathroom time.
At your parents’ house, you can take your pick of porcelain thrones. Your shower doesn’t end with an angry banging on the door that you’re going to make someone late for work. Bliss!
11. The freedom (and responsibility) of driving
Open roads, windows down, music up, driving can be a dream. No wonder you were so excited for this tiny little piece of plastic when you were a teenager. Independence! Freedom!
But wow. Were other drivers always this bad? Did you always have so many mirrors to check every second? Were you always so scared of getting in an accident? Driving is a lot of work, guys!
12. The process of planning to go somewhere
And speaking of driving. In New York, you have multiple easily coordinated modes of transportation at the swipe of a metro card or the touch of a finger. Or, you know, you could walk.
Now you have to consider: who will be DD? Where is the best/cheapest place to park? Highway or back roads? Do you have enough gas? Does Uber even exist here???[Feature Image Courtesy Business Insider]